Prevent Hot Car Deaths
In 2019, more than 50 children have died of heatstroke because they were left or became trapped in a hot car. It’s important for everyone to understand that children are more vulnerable to heatstroke and that all hot car deaths are preventable. We — as parents, caregivers, and bystanders — play a role in helping to make sure another death doesn’t happen.
Know the Facts
- A child's body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult's. When a child is left in a hot vehicle, that child's temperature can rise quickly — and they could die within minutes.
- Heatstroke begins when the core body temperature reaches about 104 degrees.
- A core body temperature of about 107 degrees is lethal.
- In 2018, 53 children died of vehicular heatstroke — the most in more than 20 years — according to NoHeatstroke.org.
Everyone Can Help Prevent Hot Car Deaths
Parents and Caregivers
- Never leave a child in a vehicle unattended — even if the windows are partially open or the engine is running, and the air conditioning is on.
- Make it a habit to check your entire vehicle — front and back — before locking the door and walking away.
- Ask your childcare provider to call if your child doesn’t show up for care as expected.
- Place a personal item like a purse or briefcase in the back seat, as another reminder to look before you lock.
- Write a note or place a stuffed animal in the passenger's seat to remind you that a child is in the back seat.
Everyone — Including Bystanders
- If you see a child alone in a locked car, get them out immediately and call 911. A child in distress due to heat should be removed from the vehicle as quickly as possible and rapidly cooled.
- Always lock your car doors and trunk, year-round, so children can’t get into unattended vehicles.
- Store car keys out of a child's reach and teach children that a vehicle is not a play area.